Anton Nikkilä: electronics, guitar; Pekka Airaksinen: piano; Ari Salonen: bass; Samuli Tanner: drums, electronics
Unlawful disjunctions and enlivening misrepresentations of realness emerge from these five tracks, proofs of a thorough unwillingness to bend to the prosaic aspects of a band’s interaction. The sum of diverse generations in the history of Finnish alternative music, Modern Feelings don’t play the “goodwill ambassador” game for no one. They interlock idiosyncratic styles in parallel with snippets of deeply altered average rubbish (muzak and smooth jazz, they say), the ultimate outcome a series of bloody scratches on the face of formulaic sonic radiance.
These men can handle their instruments, mind you. All it takes is listening to the splendidly titled “Regular Face Paint Tablet Associations” to realize it. Airaksinen’s pianistic wiseness manifests itself across the cluster-ish character of his jerky figurations; Nikkilä’s cynical strangling of his guitar erases any chance of pathetic leaning. The “rhythm section” of Salonen and Tanner could be utilized as a torturesome tool for those who can’t manage to admit that pulses different from 4/4 do exist. What at first appears as the worst kind of orchestral disproportion is soon perceived as a partially intelligible language replete with acrid timbres and defined by adamantine indiscipline. Still, the collective vibrates attractively – check the finale of “Smooth Variations VI” or the beginning of the subsequent “Searching For The Heart Of Blankness” (yet another great header).
Suspicion and hostility transmitted most everywhere, an instinctive clenching of the acoustic muscle, no openings to metaphors and poems. A quartet throwing punches from all angles, some of them barely missing. But should they catch the solar plexus of your relaxedness, you’re gone for good.